Share This Page

Hobby Lobby hypocrisy: Fighting birth control coverage, it invests in abortion drug maker

| Wednesday, April 2, 2014, 8:09 p.m.

WASHINGTON — The company leading the legal challenge against birth control coverage under Obamacare offers its workers a retirement plan that includes investments in companies making contraceptive and abortion drugs.

Hobby Lobby Stores Inc. has a 401(k) plan featuring several mutual funds investing in pharmaceutical firms that produce intrauterine birth control devices, emergency contraceptive pills and drugs used in abortion procedures, according to Labor Department documents and a review of fund portfolios.

Hobby Lobby and the Green family that owns it say their religious beliefs prohibit them from offering health coverage for contraceptive drugs and devices that can work after conception. The retailer and others have sued the Obama administration, challenging the Affordable Care Act's requirement that employers provide coverage for all approved forms of birth control, including the morning-after pill and similar drugs that may work after an egg has been fertilized.

The Supreme Court heard arguments last week and is expected to issue a ruling by June.

“This is the height of hypocrisy,” Cecile Richards, president of Planned Parenthood Action Fund, said in a statement. “Hobby Lobby's CEO wants to deny the company's 13,000 employees access to affordable birth control, while investing in pharmaceutical companies that make it.”

Hobby Lobby spokeswoman Emily Hardman did not immediately respond to a request for comment. The magazine Mother Jones first reported Hobby Lobby's retirement plan investment holdings.

Hobby Lobby's 401(k) plan includes funds that invest in Teva Pharmaceutical Industries, maker of Plan B, known as the morning-after pill, and ParaGard, an intrauterine device. Hobby Lobby objects to offering employee coverage for both forms of birth control.

Other holdings include Pfizer, maker of the drugs Cytotec and Prostin E2 used to induce abortions, and Forest Laboratories, maker of Cervidil, also used to induce abortions. Some of the funds invest in health insurance companies Aetna and Humana, which offer policies covering emergency contraception and surgical abortions.

The pharmaceutical companies are among dozens of holdings by each mutual fund and represent just a fraction of the overall investment.

The Green family says it believes life begins at conception, and lawyers for the Greens say following the provisions of Obamacare would either violate their religious beliefs or force them to pay millions of dollars in fines. The company's insurance plans do offer 16 other forms of birth control mentioned in the federal health care law.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.